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ACS Chem Biol. 2009 Aug 21;4(8):603-16. doi: 10.1021/cb9001409.

Using small molecules to dissect mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Systems Biology, Stanford UniversitySchool of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Dr., Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Abstract

Understanding the ways in which pathogens invade and neutralize their hosts is of great interest from both an academic and a clinical perspective. However, in many cases genetic tools are unavailable or insufficient to fully characterize the detailed mechanisms of pathogenesis. Small molecule approaches are particularly powerful due to their ability to modulate specific biological functions in a highly controlled manner and their potential to broadly target conserved processes across species. Recently, two approaches that make use of small molecules, activity-based protein profiling and high-throughput phenotypic screening, have begun to find applications in the study of pathways involved in pathogenesis. In this Review we highlight ways in which these techniques have been applied to examine bacterial and parasitic pathogenesis and discuss possible ways in which these efforts can be expanded in the near future.

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